C. KEITH DEJONG
Conrad Keith DeJong, 84 of Waterville, MN, formerly of Faribault, MN, Tucson, AZ and Kodaikanal, India, died in peace and comfort Thursday, May 16, 2013 at Waterville Good Samaritan Center after a slide deep into Alzheimerís, "the scourge" he called it.
Keithís Minnesota memorial service will be held on Wednesday, May 22, at 7:00pm at the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour in Faribault. It will be the Covenant Service from the Church of South Indiaís Book of Common Worship, celebrating this transition with the rich, prayerful language and music Keith loved. Visitation will be in the Cloister for one hour prior to the service. Boldt Funeral Home of Faribault (boldtfuneralhome.com) is completing these arrangements.
Keithís Iowa memorial service will be held on Friday, June 21, at 10:30am at the American Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. Interment will be prior to the service at the West Lawn Cemetery in Orange City. There will be a prayer service on June 21 at 9:45am at the Oolman Funeral Home in Orange City. Visitation with the family will be on Thursday, June 20, from 4:00pm to 8:00pm, at the funeral home. Oolman Funeral Home (Oolmanfh@orangecitycomm.net) is completing these arrangements.
Keith was born in Kuwait City, Kuwait on December 8, 1928 to Rev. Garrett Edward DeJong, Sr. and Everdene (Kuyper) DeJong. One of his "claims to fame" was being the first European boy born in Kuwait. His parents were missionaries with the Reformed Church of America. Garrett built and pastored the Kuwait Mission Church. Everdene wrote a book on Spoken Arabic, and Keith spoke Arabic fluently as a child.
Keith attended Kodaikanal Missionary School in southern India from the ripe old age of 10, a hardship for both his parents and him, but a place that generated many lasting friendships and a great education. He graduated in the class of í46.
Keith excelled in school, track, trombone and singing. He became a stand-out tenor from high school on through the remainder of his life, packing concert halls and churches throughout India and the US, singing his last public performances in 2008 at the age of 79 and 2009 at the age of 80.
He attended Hope College in Holland, MI, graduated in 1951, and returned to Kodaikanal to teach choral and band music from 1957 until retirement in 1993. He was well-loved.
He served in the US Marine Corps between 1951 and 1953 during the Korean Conflict, his musical prowess earning him the job of chaplainís assistant, carrying the small fold-up organ and helping provide music for services on the bases. Keith was horrified to see ill-conceived battle plans sending many good men to needless deaths, a lose-lose situation that put a sadness in his heart, made him quiet and question authority.
He married Marcine Ruth Muilenburg of Orange City on June 25, 1952. They had four living children who will always remember their dadís innate goodness, impeccable tone and wardrobe, bad puns, teasing Mom, the smell of Rumalaya, musical blessings sung together before each meal, Alphonse -that crazy flea, and a deep abiding faith in the power of the Holy Spirit in this world.
Keith is survived by his brothers, Dr. David and Dorothea (Essebaggers) DeJong, G. Edward and Mary (Lindquist) DeJong; his sons, Garry and Suzanne (Smith) DeJong of Everett, WA, Dr. Bruce and Tamar (Ulrich) DeJong of India, James and Dawn (Reynolds) DeJong of San Antonio, TX; his daughter, Dorothy DeJong (Jeff Jarvis) of Waterville, MN; his grandchildren Terah, Hans, S. Ketsa, Leif, and Andry DeJong; Noelle and Annelise DeJong, and Hunter DeJong-Caron; his sister-in-law, Lee Roos, many other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; toddler sister, Marjorie Beth; toddler brother, John Norman; in-laws, Ivan (Winifred) Muilenberg, Allen Roos and nephew Kent DeJongh.
Let us rejoice that he is safely Home. Many thanks to everyone for their prayers and exemplary efforts. Alzheimerís is a long road, and from Pleasant View Estates, to Traditions of Waterville and particularly Good Samaritan Care Center of Waterville, Dad received a lot of peopleís best efforts. The unflagging support and friendship of Kristin Sjolie of Mayo Clinicís Caregiver Wellness program was also in integral part of the teamís success. In lieu of flowers, please support your local hospice program.
Name: rochelle Jarvis-Cloutier
Date: Tuesday May 21, 2013
Hi Dot & Jeff, what a lovely Obituary on your Father! I don't have memories of him to share, except for the time we were asked to join you and your parents for a nice meal, that was your anniversary I think? He was a gentle and handsome man, I can see Dorothy in his face, especially the smile. He sure had a unique and special life, long and useful-well spent. Mostly I want to say I believe what matters most in life is the impression we leave on those we love after we are gone. A persons legacy-what they leave behind, Dorothy-what he instilled in you, it's beautiful. You're beautiful. Your dad, your parents both, have created something very special in you, I believe you know and feel this. Loving memories will keep the past ever present, In loving remembrance of your father, I wish you all peace and good health. Love, Shelly